Why am I writing this SMART Woman’s Guide to Living Alone?

I’ve been single my entire adult life, but I haven’t always been alone. Before I adopted my sons, I sometimes shared the house or apartment I was living in with a roommate. My sons came into my life when I was 27 and they lived with me off and on even after they became adults, so my time alone has been sporadic. My parents were always there for me when I needed them and I spent the last few years of their lives living with them and helping them as they aged. Now that they are gone and my sons have their own lives, I feel truly alone for the first time in my life. It’s not altogether a bad thing, I’m an introvert and I enjoy my own company, but it does have some down sides.

Losing someone often also means losing a support system. My brother and nephews have all moved away from this area now. I moved away from the community I lived in when I took on the role of caregiver for my parents. As a result, I lost touch with the network of neighbors and friends I had. The reality of my situation hit me hard when I had a health issue and needed outpatient surgery. My sons were both out of the state with their work and my DILs were tied down with their own children. Fortunately, my brother and SIL invited me to stay with them before and after my surgery, but I have to admit that it was still one of the most lonely times of my life. It made me realize that I needed to pull myself together and plan my future as single woman alone. It also occurred to me that there were so many women I knew who were also facing life alone for various reasons including death of a spouse, divorce, loss of parents, or children growing up and leaving home. Some choose not to live alone and move in with family members, or quickly seek out new relationships. Many, like me, choose to be independent.

I am writing this guide for myself and it outlines the things I want to do to get a handle on my life. I’m sharing it in the hopes that it may also benefit others in similar circumstances. I know there are guys out there, as well, that are facing life alone as they age. If you are a guy, keep in mind this guide is written from a woman’s perspective which is much different than most men’s. As I add information to each topic, I will add links on this page to posts regarding those topics. My goal is to self-publish this guide when it is complete.

Embrace Independence

Strengthen Your Support Network

  • Stay in Touch
  • Nurture New Friendships
  • Get Involved with Community Activities
  • Be Active in Religious and/or Social Organizations

Pursue Healthy Relationships

  • Know Your Own Worth
  • Have Realistic Expectations
  • Understand the Pros and Cons of Online Dating
  • Consider Alternatives to Online Dating
  • Stay Safe

Master Basic Financial Planning

  • Assess your Assets
  • Set Financial Goals
  • Master Budgeting
  • Set Up an Emergency Fund
  • Evaluate Your Insurance Plans
  • Make Smart Investments
  • Develop an Estate Plan
  • Learn a Side Hustle
  • Understand Social Security and Medicare

Maximize Your Physical Health

  • Keep a Daily Health Log
  • Give Someone You Trust Power of Attorney
  • Prepare an Advanced Directive
  • Keep Medical Appointments
  • Improve Your Eating Habits
  • Get More Exercise
  • Become Informed about Telehealth, Urgi Care and Emergency Room Services
  • Avoid Internet Health Gurus

Nurture Emotional Well-being

  • Find Healthy Ways to Manage Grief
  • Identify Hidden Sources of Grief
  • Reduce Stress and Anxiety
  • Seek Counseling if You’re Feeling Overwhelmed

Minimize Your Limitations

  • Build a List of Reliable Service Providers
  • Decide if You Need to Downsize
  • Prepare Your Home for Senior Living
  • Ask for Help When You Need It
  • Learn How to Negotiate, Barter and Trade

Protect Yourself and Your Assets

  • Install an Affordable Home Security/Monitoring System
  • Maintain Smoke Detectors and Carbon Monoxide Monitors
  • Consider the Benefits of Owning a Dog
  • Set Up a Daily Check-in with Someone
  • Learn Self-Defense Tactics
  • Look into the Benefits of Smart Watches or Help Alert Devices
  • Maintain Your Vehicle and Have a Roadside Assistance Plan
  • Build Relationships with Neighbors You Trust

Establish Clear Boundaries

  • Practice the Art of Saying No
  • Make Informed Decisions for Yourself
  • Be Assertive
  • Guard Your Information
  • Communicate Clearly

Discover the Beauty of Letting Go

  • Let Go of Bitterness
  • Let Go of Guilt/Regret
  • Let Go of Possessions that Are Weighing You Down
  • Let Go of Fear

Create a Bucket List

  • Places to Go
  • Adventures You Seek
  • Foods You’ve Never Tried
  • Attainable Achievements You Haven’t Yet Reached

Leave a Legacy

  • Organize and Share Family Photos
  • Write a Brief Memoir of Your Life or Biography of a Beloved Family Member
  • Document Your Family History
  • Pen a Letter to Future Generations
  • Create a Family Heirloom (ex: a quilt, a piece of furniture, a work of art, a recipe book)

Live in the Moment

  • Count Your Blessings
  • Accept That Life Will Always Have Ups and Downs
  • Believe in Yourself
  • Practice Contentment